SLAC Today is available online at:
http://today.slac.stanford.edu
In this issue:
LCLS Groundbreaking Today
Ray Orbach to Speak on the Power of Nature-Based Technology to Reduce Global Warming
Scientist Who Found '10th Planet' Discusses Downgrading of Pluto
SLAC to Host Space and Astronomy Day
Photo of the Day: Diwali Celebration

SLAC Today

Friday - October 20, 2006

LCLS GROUNDBREAKING TODAY

Join us today at 10 a.m. as we officially break ground for the Linac Coherent Light Source! Come celebrate the beginning of an exciting new era in SLAC's history, and help us extend a warm welcome to DOE Under Secretary for Science Raymond Orbach; Stanford University Provost John Etchemendy; and Congress members Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, and Mike Honda.

This is your chance to see first-hand the LCLS construction site and the changes excavation crews have made to the SLAC landscape.

Transportation to and from the ceremony will be provided for everyone, starting at 9:30 a.m. from Parking Lot C across from the Guest House. Come join us for refreshments, and entertainment by the Stanford Marching Band, at SLAC's official LCLS groundbreaking.

Raymond Orbach to Speak on the Promise of Renewable Energy


The San Francisco Public Library's Wallace Stegner Environmental Center and SF Environment are proud to present a special public appearance of Dr. Ray Orbach, Under Secretary for Science at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Under-Secretary will present "Transformational Science for Energy and the Environment" in The San Francisco Public Library's Koret Auditorium on Monday, October 23, from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Orbach will discuss the promise of renewable energy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Sharing his interest in biofuels, including solar-to-fuel technology, Dr. Orbach will discuss new research efforts sponsored by the DOE.  He will also re-visit some preexisting options that may help achieve energy security and carbon neutrality—or better.

Dr. Orbach serves as the Secretary of Energy's advisor on all scientific aspects at the Department of Energy. Overseeing a $4.1 billion budget, Dr. Orbach coordinates the Energy Department's research and development programs and its 17 national laboratories, while also overseeing the department's scientific and engineering education activities.

After Dr. Orbach's remarks there will be a 20-minute question and answer period, which will be moderated by Jared Blumenfeld, Director of SF Environment. Questions for Dr. Orbach will be accepted in writing; question forms and pencils will be available at the venue.

To learn more about the public lecture and SF Environment, call (415) 355-3700.

Photo of the Day:
Diwali Celebration

(Photo - dancer)
Archana Ganapathi performs a South Indian classical dance at yesterday's Diwali celebration. (Photo courtesy of Diana Rogers.)

More than 150 people attended the 3rd annual Diwali celebration in the Redwood Conference Rooms at SLAC on Thursday afternoon. Participants were treated to traditional Indian dancing and music, along with an extensive buffet of curries, naan, and sweets.

Diwali Mela, also known as the "Festival of Lights," is a yearly festival celebrating prosperity and hope for mankind. Diwali typically occurs in late October or early November.

Scientist Who Found '10th Planet' Discusses Downgrading of Pluto

Still mourning the loss of Pluto as a planet? Blame Caltech astronomer Michael Brown. His 2005 discovery of Eris, a new "planet" past Pluto, prompted other astronomers to redefine the definition of a planet, leading to the eventual designation of Pluto and Eris as dwarf planets.

Brown will present the 25th annual Bunyan Lecture at Kresge Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25.  In his talk, titled "Pluto, Eris and the Dwarf Planets of the Solar System," Brown will tell the story of his discovery and explain why it brought about a redefinition of what makes a planet. The event is free and open to the public.

Although initially disappointed that his discovery, Eris, was demoted, Brown said, "It was the right thing to do. I think eight makes much more sense."

Brown scanned the sky for seven years before finally finding what he thought was the "10th planet." Eris is slightly larger than Pluto and orbits three times farther from the sun than Pluto—making Eris the most distant object ever seen revolving around the sun. Read more...

SLAC to Host Space
and Astronomy Day


Black holes, supernovae and telescopes are just a few of the topics that students from around the country will explore at tomorrow's Space and Astronomy Day.

The symposium, hosted by SLAC in cooperation with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, introduces academically talented seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students to pioneering scientists and mathematicians. Students' families will also attend.

The program is "another example of how SLAC takes seriously its commitment to education and public outreach," says Roger Blandford, director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.

More than fifteen researchers and graduate students from SLAC and Stanford University will lead a series of space-related presentations and workshops for participants. Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour SLAC.

"I hope the students have a good time, that they learn as much from each other as from us, and that we help them to become more inquisitive about the world around them," says Blandford.

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